New Delhi: Bangladesh's Minister of State (MoS) for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam has reaffirmed close ties with India, dismissing concerns of the Chinese trying to influence Dhaka that could impact ties with Delhi.
Speaking at Vivekananda foundation virtually, Alam said, "(China) they know the depth and breadth of our relationship with India. The historic bondage. It is the bondage that delivered and the very creation and Independence of Bangladesh when the blood of soldiers of both the countries was shed that is inseparable and is not comparable with any relation, what so ever."
In 2021, Bangladesh is celebrating 50th year of its independence and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Dhaka in March to take part in celebrations. Both sides have increased closeness, and working in a major way on the connectivity front, reviving pre-1965 rail and road links.
On ties with China and the belt and road initiative, he said, "Our relationship with Beijing is a matter of huge interest to India and everyone else...We see that (BRI) as an economic cooperation initiative and we have not committed to any defence or military initiatives and we haven't found any yet. We see many countries other countries in Europe even and neighbourhood have joined."
He explained, engagement with Beijing has paid "some dividends" in recent times in times in "terms of infrastructure, building facilities that are helping our economic progressions" but "We are under no risk of a debt trap. Our economic fundamentals are strong...We know exactly what we do."
China has been trying to increase its influence in South Asia. Pakistan has been key to China's BRI project in south Asia, with mega China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being heavily invested on by Beijing.